June 27 First News: Santa Fe City Hall votes 6-to-2 against ban on high capacity magazines. (listen)

Santa Fe City Hall has voted 6-to-2 against a proposal to ban large capacity ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds for firearms within city limits. The proposal was brought forward by Mayor Coss and councilor Patti Bushee as well as councilor Ron Trujillo who, at the last, withdrew his support. Some 70 citizens provided public comment on the matter, the vast majority in opposition to it. Santa Fe Police Chief Ray Rael told the assembly he thought the ordinance would be problematic....****clip

In other news from City Hall, Santa Fe will terminate its contract with an out-of-state insurance underwriter offering residents limited liability coverage for repairs to water and sewer lines on their private property. The contract with Service Line Warranties of America will expire in January and the City will then solicit new bids from other companies. The arrangement was criticized as as a violation of the ban on use of public monies for private enterprise.

City hall has also okayed free parking for patrons of the Railyard’s proposed movie complex. Payment of parking fees will be deferred until 2029, when the non-profit overseeing the Railyard is expected to be solvent and free of debt.

New Mexico’s current insurance superintendent, John Franchini, has been unanimously chosen to keep his post as the Insurance Division becomes an entity unto itself come July 1st.  That’s when a new law takes effect separating it from the state’s Public Regulation Commission. Franchini told the nominating committee that his wife has resigned her job as an underwriter for the Independent Insurance Agents of America. The new state law prohibits the Insurance Superintendent having a spouse or child working for the insurance industry. Franchini will now serve through December 31st, 2015 at an annual salary of $101,000.

The nearby 10,000 acre Jaroso Fire continues to burn in extremely challenging terrain with no containment. Activity is greatest on its southern and eastern sides with fire now encroaching on the Pecos River.  No evacuations have been ordered but nearby residents have been advised to make preliminary preparations. Both the entire Pecos Wilderness and the Santa Fe National Forest are closed to the public until further notice.

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District is decrying blockage by all House Republicans to bring forward legislation to address the doubling of student loan rates effective July 1st. Luján is an ardent supporter of freezing the loan rate at its current 3.4% for the next two years.  He says the coming rate increase would burden students both here in New Mexico and across the nation with an average $2600 in additional interest debt.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision that will allow residents of states where same-sex marriage is legal to access all federal benefits of matrimony, Governor Susana Martinez says she now supports putting a constitutional amendment measure on the 2014 general election ballot for public referendum. That approach was attempted in the most recent legislative session, championed by representative Brian Egolf of Santa Fe.  It failed, however, to make it out of committees.

Weather for Santa Fe – sunny and dry today with near-record breaking heat.  The forecast high is 97 degrees. Tomorrow ushers in the start of rising humidity levels and a gradual cooling trend. Friday sees a 10% chance for isolated showers with highs in the mid 90s. Rain chances improve each day thereafter with a 40-to-50% chance for showers by Sunday with highs in the mid 80s.